Time Machine backup on NTFS drive: only on network drive?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by MarceFX, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. MarceFX macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Graná (Spain)

    I've been reading a lot about NTFS and Time Machine, but I'm still wondering whether I could backup to an external USB drive (not networked). According to this post, it's possible to achieve this on a network drive:

    (Images extracted from the original post)​

    But as far as I understand, you need the .sparsebundle file, which is not created when backing up to an USB attached drive. At least, I'm not seeing the file on my system.log, as that post states.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you

    PS. I'm using Tuxera to be able to write to NTFS drives.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, you cannot use Time Machine with an NTFS-formatted external drive.

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
      • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.
  3. MarceFX thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Graná (Spain)
    Thanks. So I guess I'll have to do it over my network, what's really annoying.
  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Does the drive have to remain NTFS?

    The other option is to shrink the NTFS partition and create a dedicated HFS+ partition just for Time Machine. Time Machine works best with a dedicated partition anyways, and this would mitigate the need to do it over the network, which requires a fair bit of work to set up and keep operating.
  5. MarceFX thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Graná (Spain)
    Yes, it does need to remain NTFS :-/
  6. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Then like I say, create a HFS+ partition equal to the size that you'd like to allocate for the backups. Time Machine is designed to consume all available space on the target drive, so this will save you a lot of headaches.

    There are ways to do this over the network, and define the maximum size of the Sparsebundle, but like I said, they are a fair bit of work, and not particularly reliable. If you are thinking of going down that path, I'd highly recommend you use an alternate backup solution.

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